Mediating on different subjects is a wonderful thing to do, but it’s not meditation. To me, meditation, by definition, is on nothing.
Yet, every other article on the subject is about meditating on nature, on change, on your purpose.. on something.
When you are starting out, it can be useful to have something to think about. And it is always good to take time out of your day for such careful examination of different subjects: life, change, politics, religion, the universe, or a specific problem.
But if your purpose is to enhance your ability to focus, to clear your mind and steady your soul, it is always best to practice that hard-to-obtain stillness. That emptiness of thought and feeling that is the goal of meditation.
Breath in and let the thoughts tumble and spin; breath out and let them flow from the sandy shore of your mind, out into the ethereal sea. Allow everything in.
Do not try to pin the thoughts down. This is not the time to examine them or deal with them. It is the time to watch them from afar, drifting by, unleashed, unchecked, unanchored. They simply are.
Take your emotional attention off of your body as well as your mind. Notice the tickles and pressures, comforts and discomforts, but let them be. Just observe them without emotion or desire. These are not things you need to impact. They simply are. You simply are.
Notice your surroundings but do not feel anything about them. Hear the footsteps but do not turn. Feel the fly but do not twitch. Smell the flowers but do not interpret the scent as good or bad. It simply is.
Now you are aware of all things, but have you “accomplished” meditation? No. You are practicing meditation. And that practice has amazing benefits from regulating your blood pressure to balancing your emotions. It can help you sleep better at night and be more awake during the day. You will notice many effects.
But you are not empty. People spend years practicing this, trying to get to that magic moment of serenity. Do not feel bad or frustrated if you never do. Many do not. But keep practicing.
Meditate on nothing until everything has drifted by. Practice your breathing, your counting, your relaxation techniques until you no longer need them. Then meditate again, for longer.
Maybe someday you will feel that slip into the divine depths of serenity. Maybe not. But your practice will have made everyday better, every moment clearer. It will have been worth it.
Start with one breath, right now. One deep breath. For a few seconds, let the world be as it is. Accept it, and yourself. Maybe you and the world will change but for right now, for this moment, simply be. Let it go and give yourself a moment of rest, meditating on nothing.